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Harvesters may explode the volume of data from forests

International Forest Industries - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 13:00

New technology and big data open up new opportunities for forest harvesting entrepreneurs, allowing them to provide services for a variety of purposes.

Even today, harvesters gather a stunning amount of data for forestry needs, but they could do it for others, too. The machine could make available many new types of data from forests.

”This could be of interest to other sectors of society, and some might even be prepared to pay for it,” says Matti Rahikka, an expert on data protection and Executive Director of the DPO Finland company. Rahikka was one of the speakers at the Forest Day organised by the Trade Association of Finnish Forestry and Earth Moving Contractors.

Sensors attached to harvesters already gather data on distances, temperatures, humidity, air pressure, velocity, light, soil conditions, geography and location, as well as the amount and water content of snow.

According to Rahikka, a harvester could also function as the ground base of a drone. Computer vision is developing fast and also offers new possibilities for drones.

Drones can be programmed to follow animate or inanimate objects, they are able to fly along a pre-set path, avoiding obstacles and then returning to their path. They can reach a speed of 50 km/h and are able to fly even seven kilometres without re-charging.

A drone could estimate the amount of stout timber in a forest and the amount of smaller timber for pulp production. It could estimate the quality of the forest and, for example, check the condition of powerlines.

It can identify animal species and count the number of individuals per species. It can look for spruces suitable for Christmas trees, find mushrooms and berries and tell whether they are good for picking – for it can tell the difference between ripe and unripe berries even if shaded by leaves.


Movable base station to harvesting sites

When a harvester is transported into the forest, the same lorry could bring in a base station for broadband connections and an aggregate. ”This would provide a power source and broadband to the people living nearby,” says Rahikka.

At the moment, image processing software is able to identify individuals by their faces in a crowd, as well as their moods – and even different foods and their components on a plate.

360-degree cameras could be installed in forest machinery to monitor, for example, the condition of the forest and the trees spared during logging. Machine vision can tell whether the operator is having a break, repairing the machine or back in his seat. Or whether he, or she, is in a good mood.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of all kinds of appliances, such as refrigerators, freezers, bicycles – of anything you can imagine – connected to the internet. When connected, these devices can then gather and transmit data wherever we want it.

The largest artefact in a forest is the harvester. ”Even today, it is full of computer and communication technology, but the time may have come for it to start serving not just the forest sector but the whole society,” says Rahikka.


New use for old NMT frequency

Sensors connected to the IoT network transmit data through the Narrow Band IoT (NBIoT), with a frequency of 450 megahertz. This was used earlier by analog mobile phone networks, such as the Nordic Mobile Telephone, the predecessor of the GSM network in the Nordic countries.

For IoT, the network has two important features. It has a very long range, several tens of kilometres. Secondly, it cannot transmit large quantities of data, but this is not a problem for sensors working in NBIoT.

As a result, these sensors do not need much energy and they may be located at quite a distance to the base station. At the moment such sensors may function for even ten years without re-charging, and their price is continuously decreasing.

Thus, the 450-megahertz network is best suited for appliances with moderate smarts, but it can accommodate a great number of them and across a large area. If the prices continue to drop, one day they might be scattered in the forest just like seeds to transmit data on the conditions in their environment for as long as the power supply will last.

Examples of existing NBIoT technologies include parking spaces indicating that they are free, problem spots in plumbing, remote sensing of heart rate, sensor-equipped collars for sheepto inform their location, or letterboxes and trash bins indicating they should be emptied.

Who owns the data?

But who owns the data gathered by a harvester? The data may be gathered for the harvester owner, but also sold to other parties.

According to Finnish legislation, you cannot own data, says Rahikka. “But you can own the device or appliance in which the data is stored. And in most cases sharing the data makes sense – whether or not you want someone to pay for it,” says Rahikka.

In Finland, there is by now an agreement on sharing the data gathered by forest machinery between forest industry companies, forest machine entrepreneurs and the manufacturers of forest machinery. The agreement aims at clarifying the rules of owning and sharing the data and at promoting new applications and services based on data gathered by forest machinery.

In addition to the forest industry companies, only one forest owner is a party to the agreement: the state forest company Metsähallitus. However, private forest owners are free to join in whenever they wish.


Hannes Mäntyranta


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Ftg Forest And Kallefall Produce A New Skidding Grapple

International Forest Industries - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 12:41

The FB22SG features well protected tongs‘ rear linkage placement and weight optimization.

The grapple is designed to extract single trees and bunches of smaller trees. The frame and tongs are reinforced in high stressed areas to improve durability and safety. Two high quality hydraulic cylinders are connected to the tractor’s quick couplings and the unit is ready for extraction. The grapples have a large opening, and sufficient distance from the slewing joint, which allows transporting of even larger bunches of timber. One of the biggest benefits is that it requires only a low horsepower tractor and does not require the operator to dismount from the tractor to operate it.

The skidding grapple is attached to the tractor’s three-point linkage. The robust design permits the long service life and low maintenance cost. A powerful double action cylinder and toothed frame provides strong grip which secures the logs or trees between the jaws. The hydraulics allow the grapple to swing to the sides (± 43°), which makes picking up of bunches from the extraction route easier as well as enables load steering to follow the tractor’s movements thus causing less/no damage to the growing young trees in thinning applications. It is an ideal application for short extraction distances.

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Progressive Kiln order from ULK Velsk Sawmill to HEINOLA

International Forest Industries - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 12:24

ULK Velsk Sawmill in Arkangelsk district has recently ordered two 2-zone Progressive Kiln type HFB from Heinola Sawmill Machinery Inc. with annual capacity of ca. 120.000 m3 when drying spruce and pine timber to 18 % final moisture content.

Progressive kilns are equipped with pressure frames and HEINOLA New Drying Kiln Control System. The new Progressive Kilns will be taken into production this year.

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Pilous – X-Cut Innovative Saw Band For Woodworking Band Saws

International Forest Industries - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 11:52

Pilous – The X-Cut saw band was developed based on customer requirements for woodworking and sawing on band saws. The X-Cut saw band quality can be found between Maxwood Bimetal and Maxwood Stelit saw bands.

An innovative combination of hardened spread-set teeth and stellite eliminates practically the complicated act of spread-setting the saw teeth (tooth setting).

The regeneration of the saw band is very effective, the teeth are only re-sharpened. Other unquestionable advantages of this new type of saw band include higher cutting times, exceeding the usual two hours, cutting surface quality and, last but not at least, excellent performance-price ratio. This is the optimal saw band for both soft and hardwood, available in a width of 35 to 60 mm.

X-Cut saw band: customers´ opinions

Partner from Slovakia: “We are very satisfied with the X-Cut saw bands because of, in particular, a smoother cutting surface, which is a real improvement in quality. This unique blade service life justifies the higher price of X-Cut saw band and has, in any case, an economic benefit to our production.”

Partner from Germany: “My impression of the X-Cut saw band is that this type of saw band is one of the most powerful saw bands I have ever had the opportunity to work with. Especially, the high dimensional precision of hardwoods such as hard, dry spruce wood amazed me. The service life is excellent, up to four hours without losing quality.”

Partner from Austria: “The saw band has a much longer service life. On average, it is by 1/3 higher than the saw bands with hardened tooth used so far. The stellite tooth takes over the main cutting power. The excellent quality of the cut surface.”

Partner from Poland: “Thanks to the X-Cut saw band, we achieve faster saw band feed into the cut with less effort. A big advantage consists in saving time. On average, we have a double service life as compared with previous band saws. The spread-setting of teeth is not required, when sharpening (grinding).”

Partners from the Czech Republic: “We are very satisfied with the X-Cut saw bands because of, in particular, a smoother cutting surface, which is a real improvement in quality. The good quality of the cut surface in connection with a very good service life justifies the higher price of the X-Cut saw band and has an economic benefit to our production as compared with conventional saw bands.“

“Positive results became evident just during the first cuts of frozen wood. Tests have shown us that the properties of the saw band are the same even after 8-10 installations on the machine. The X-cut saw bands are characterized by their high service life and excellent cutting quality.”

“The initial mistrust in using this type of band convinced me soon of the contrary. I am cutting dry spruce, acacia and oak and everything has a straight cut. I have a saw band on the machine for up to three hours. A significant plus is that there is no need to spread-set the teeth. “

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Focus on forest ownership at SkogsElmia

International Forest Industries - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 10:41

The new-generation forest owners are increasingly managing their own forests. At least as important as the yield is to manage the forests in a long-term and environmentally sound way. This approach will be in focus at SkogsElmia, which will be held this summer on 6–8 June 2019 in the forest south of Jönköping.

If Elmia Wood is the whole world’s forestry fair with a focus on technology and innovations, then SkogsElmia can be described as the whole Nordic region’s forestry fair. The overall theme of the fair will be forest ownership, a topic that affects everyone in the forest in different ways – from forest owners to machinery contractors to forestry officials.

The fair’s theme will encompass everything from ownership transfer and forest management to technology and logistics that minimise ground damage. As forest owners are making new demands, forestry fairs are becoming increasingly important meeting places for the forest industry’s various actors as well as platforms for the development of new products and services. Smart digital technology is being used more and more in forestry too, and so visitors to the fair can look forward to many innovations and much new thinking among the exhibitors.

SkogsElmia is held every fourth year and attracts about 30,000 visitors and 300 exhibitors. The new fair manager for SkogsElmia is Mattias Pontén, a certified forester with great expertise and solid experience of the forest industry. He takes up his post now in June.

“It will be a terrific experience to be part of the forest industry’s development,” he says. “Forest ownership is a broad topic with many different issues, which I care greatly about as a forest owner myself. One key focus right now is sustainable forest management with an eye to the future – a future that will be strongly characterised by digitalisation and the links between services and products. We will fill SkogsElmia with many relevant activities to complement the exhibitors’ many new products and services, and we anticipate a fair that will benefit everyone involved.”


Photo: Fair manager for SkogsElmia, Mattias Pontén,

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Robots employed to carve wood

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 01:10
Students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have used the oldest material available and the newest in robotics to create a temporary art installation in the centre of the campus. The Wander Wood Pavilion, a wooden curved rounded shell that forms into a bench, was a collaborative effort between several different sets of participants. Source: The Journal of Commerce It took place as part of Robot Made: Large- Scale Robotic Timber Fabrication in Architecture, a workshop involving 15 architecture students along with external partners. UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) had a leading role in the project, spearheaded in part by professor AnnaLisa Meyboom, along with David Correa of the University of Waterloo and Oliver David Krieg of Lang Wilson Practice in Architecture Culture, a Vancouver-based architecture firm. “We (myself and the Centre of Advanced Wood Processing (CAWP) here at UBC) obtained a grant from Forest Innovation Investment to run the workshop. We brought in collaborating experts from Germany and University of Waterloo. The participants are the students from a course I teach as well as people from industry who sign up. We advertise in various media,” Ms Meyboom said. The project team also collaborated with Dean Gregory and David Gill from Campus and Community Planning to arrange permits to put the installation on campus, she said. The Wander Wood project ties directly into her area of study. “I’m interested in how new technologies will change how we design with wood. The technologies I’m speaking of are parametric design and robotic fabrication,” Ms Meyboom said. “As the digital technologies are integrated into the software architects use to design, the way we design changes. These projects investigate what happens when you push the limits of the technology and the material together.” The installation, consisting of wooden slats of increasing height forming a curved structure, was fabricated and assembled over three days, and an eight-axis industrial robot located at the CAWP was employed to build the segments of the structure. “It’s a standard industrial robot, but it was then set up with an integrator specifically to work on wood,” Meyboom said. “I was the UBC faculty lead and one of the designers. I did coding and oversaw robot operation and some instruction at the workshop.” Cutting-edge wood fabrication technology was also used to create the installation. “We used a CNC machine as well for the fins between the two exterior skins. We used the facilities at the Centre of Advanced Wood Processing and the very knowledgeable staff there are very supportive of the project. We couldn’t do it without them,” she added. On her UBC blog, Meyboom said parametric design and robotic fabrication are “disruptive new technologies in architecture that allow us to build high performance structures of unprecedented formal complexity,” and that wood is well suited to those tools because it can be easily milled and shaped using robotic tools. Ms Meyboom said she also recently taught a studio about prefabricated wood housing using robotic fabrication.

Big Data to offer solutions for sustainable forestry

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 01:10
A pilot initiative has offered a new solution for sustainable forestry. It’s part of a series of activities that handle massive data flows collected through sensors and aerial and satellite imagery. The importance of a well-functioning bioeconomy is increasingly recognised in addressing challenges like climate change, natural resource scarcity and unsustainable consumption patterns. Source: Timberbiz Defined as an economy in which food, materials and energy are derived from renewable biological resources involving the land and the sea, bioeconomy is seen as a central component of sustainable development. To support its growth, the EU-funded DataBio project has been focusing on the production of raw materials from agriculture, forestry and fishery through 26 pilot trials executed by 48 partners from 17 countries and involving more than 100 organisations. As part of these initiatives, the Finnish partners have developed, among others, a mobile application that uses Big Data for forest management. Seppo Huurinainen from MHG Systems Oy Ltd, who coordinates DataBio project’s forestry pilots said: “One of the Finnish consortium’s innovations is a globally unique concept based on forestry standards, which allows landowners and forestry operators to collect data on their forests using a smartphone and upload the data to the Finnish Forest Centre’s forest resource database with the help of an application called Wuudis.” Huurinainen says the application “facilitates the payment of sustainable forestry subsidies and makes it easier to collect information and keep forest inventories up to date.” Project partner VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd said: “The Wuudis service and the associated mobile application as well as standardized forest resource data concept provided by the Finnish Forest Centre can be easily scaled to other countries.” The application can also be used to monitor the effects of storms, snow, pests and diseases, according the news item. It also notes that another Finnish pilot has developed a service concept based on inventorying forests using drones. It emphasises that thousands of hectares of forest have already been inventoried with the help of this service. The project “proposes to deploy a state-of-the-art, big data platform on top of the existing partners’ infrastructure and solutions – the Big DATABIO Platform.” In addition to Big Data, the platform utilises Earth observation technologies and ICT. As part of its overall methodology, DataBio collaborates with end users and will “proceed to verify the concept through several pilotings in the chosen sectors.” Forestry pilots include areas such as forest damage remote sensing, invasive alien species control and monitoring, and a web-mapping service for government decision making.

China reporting: hardwood chip import record

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 01:08
China’s imports of hardwood chips totalled a record 3.442 million bone dried metric tonnes (bdmt) over the three months to the end of November. Nine months after China’s trade data ‘went dark’ as part of its strategy in the trade war with the US, IndustryEdge has advised that limited data is once again being made available. Source: IndustryEdge for Timberbiz Although the official data is not yet available for December, it appears likely that China’s total hardwood chip imports for 2018 will be close to 13 million bdmt. For the 11 months to November, China’s imports totalled a reported 11.861 million bdmt. IndustryEdge has advised its clients that data is available for countries supplying China, but has not been supplied for the ports of delivery within China. Vietnam supplied 5.866 million bdmt or 49.5% of the total, with Australia in a clear second place, delivering 3.765 million bdmt or 31.7% of the total. Third placed was Chile, whose 1.015 million bdmt was just 8.6% of the total. The average landed import price in November 2018 was USDCif179.94/bdmt, which was dragged down by Vietnam’s USDCif151.82/bdmt. Australia’s average price for the month was USDCif211.65/bdmt, just two US pennies lower than the price from Chile. An IndustryEdge analyst told Daily Timber News the market intelligence firm did not know when, or even if, port level data would be made available. It does appear that China has behaved consistently across all its imports, not only those of interest to the wood products and other manufacturing industries. Because countries importing to China – like Australia – have continued reporting their data, there was little point in the Chinese authorities withholding the headline or national data. It is a different matter for the port level data, which is more refined and could indicate what facilities are receiving different types of resources. That data could be used in the modern cold war of global trade. China’s export data is also again available, though the withholding of that information generally caused less concern than the import data. It remains to be seen whether the return to trade transparency is an indication of thawing trade relations between China and the United States. Every month, IndustryEdge publishes Wood Market Edge, Australia’s only forestry and wood products market and trade analysis, and supplies its customers with hundreds of unique data products, advisory and consulting services. Find out more at www.industryedge.com.au

 HIA new home sales drop to lowest level since 2012 

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 01:06
HIA New Home Sales continued the declining trend that we saw throughout most of 2018 according to Geordan Murray, HIA Senior Economist. The HIA New Home Sales Report shows detached house sales fell by 6.7% in the final month of 2018. Source: Timberbiz “Sales during the final quarter of 2018 were 14.9% lower than last year,” Mr Murray said. “While declining home prices in Sydney and Melbourne have made home buyers in these markets far more cautious, the ongoing challenges accessing finance that face many would-be home buyers across the rest of the country continue weigh on new home sales. “New home sales declined steadily throughout 2018. The declines ultimately ended up with sales in December dropping to their lowest level since late-2012. “There is still a large amount of residential building work under way due to residential developments that proceeded with large numbers of off-the-plan sales during 2016, 2017 and early 2018. “These off-the-plan sales have been flowing through the build process and many are now in the construction phase. This high level of building activity is masking a deterioration looming on the horizon. “The slowdown in sales that occurred throughout 2018 shows that the pipeline of new work coming though during 2019 is set to be considerably weaker than we’ve seen in recent years. Home building activity on the ground is set to decline as the year progresses. “It will be important to watch the trajectory of new home sales during the first half of 2019. This will give us a clear indication of how the contractionary phase of the home building cycle will play out in the second half of 2019 and into 2020.” It was a weak result across the board in December – New South Wales was the only state where sales did not decline during the month (up by 10.0%). Elsewhere sales declined: by 11.8% in Victoria, 9.2% in Queensland, 4.0% in South Australia and 9.2% in Western Australia.

NZ firefighters deployed to Tasmania

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 01:05
A contingent of New Zealand firefighting personnel is heading overseas, this time to help combat a growing number wildfires in Tasmania. Fires have been burning since late December, mainly in the southwest of the state following a heatwave and period of lightning strikes and high winds. Source: Timberbiz Fire and Emergency New Zealand National Manager Rural Operations John Rasmussen says a seven-person team will fly out of Auckland followed by 21 remote area/arduous firefighters leaving a little later. “Our team of specialist, trained incident management personnel will be undertaking roles for planning, intelligence and aviation support across the state, while the firefighters will be flown into remote locations each day,” Mr Rasmussen said. “These firefighters are going into extremely tough conditions. They must be physically and mentally fit enough to work in steep and remote areas, being flown in and out by helicopter. The conditions will be very hot and dry.” The frontline fighters will be from Fire and Emergency New Zealand (five), the Department of Conservation (five) and forestry companies (11). It is the 23rd time New Zealand fire personnel have been deployed overseas since 2000, the 12th time to Australia and third time to Tasmania. Mr Rasmussen says the deployment highlights the high regard in which Fire and Emergency New Zealand personnel are held internationally, following the August 2018 deployments to Canada and the United States. The New Zealand crews join others in Tasmania from South Australia The fires are burning across 20,000 hectares of steep, remote mountainous terrain, known as Gell River. The Gell River region experienced more than 4000 ground impacting lightning strikes on 14-15 January that ignited more than 70 fires, 50 of which are ongoing. After a windy weekend, the region expects continuing extreme temperatures this week.

Allied Timber Products sold to AAM Investments

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 01:04
The Australian Financial Review has reported that AAM Investment Group has acquired Allied Timber Products’ softwood sawmill and business located in Bathurst for about $25 million. This latest transaction is yet another addition to its diversified, unlisted investment offerings now valued at $160 million. Source: Australian Financial Review “AAM will continue to source high quality assets where value can be created through active management and investing capital to promote improved operational efficiencies and sustainable growth,” AAM managing director Garry Edwards said. AAM’s target is to acquire and develop a portfolio of up to $500 million of diversified agribusiness assets over five years that incorporates assets. The saw mill sits on six hectares and processes about 92,000 cubic metres of saw logs per annum. It has a development approval to process 210,000 cubic metres. The mill, developed in 2006 on a greenfield site, has a long-term contract with NSW Forestry. “Renewable regrowth timber products are an efficient method of long-term carbon capture and storage, production of these products provides positive environmental outcomes, with two-thirds of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions being captured in timber products, as well as high quality, cost effective, Australian-produced building and fencing products,” Mr Edwards said. “AAM will continue to invest in sustainability outcomes through investment in additional on-site renewable energy infrastructure”. Market analysis has indicated there are around six direct competitors owning about 24 mills with a volume capacity larger than 70,000 cubic metres.

NZ announces $36m for erosion control

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 01:03
Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) has announced funding of almost NZ$36 million through the Hill Country Erosion Fund (HCEF) to enable much-needed erosion control in the regions. The HCEF supports proposals to protect the most vulnerable hill country landscapes, where the main treatment is tree planting. Source: Timberbiz “We’re pleased by the level of interest from councils, with 12 applications received in this latest round – four of which were from regions that had not previously applied,” Julie Collins, deputy director-general of forestry and head of Te Uru Rākau said. “It shows the importance they are placing on sustainable land management and treating erosion in their regions.” Ms Collins says the loss of productive land through erosion has a significant impact on the environment and the sustainability of New Zealand land. “The annual cost associated with hill country erosion is estimated to be between $100 million and $150 million through lost soil, nutrients and production, and damaged infrastructure and waterways,” Ms Collins said. “The 12 new HCEF programs will take place between July 2019 and June 2023 and will deliver significant improvements in erosion control.  For example, these range from building regional capacity and capability to plant trees, to farm planning and land treatments including planting poplars, willows and other indigenous and exotic species. “We estimate that over four years, these programs will result in more than 13 million trees being planted and treatment of more than 21,000 hectares of land. “These will contribute to the Government’s One Billion Trees Program, and deliver environmental and a range of other benefits across the country.” The HCEF was launched during 2007/2008.  Funding is contested in a 4-yearly cycle, aligned with planning cycles for regional councils. The previous funding round was in 2014. Since the HCEF was launched, the fund has enabled erosion treatment on more than 40,000 hectares of land. The HCEF takes a total catchment approach involving landowners and community members to identify issues and create solutions within their own catchments. Regional councils and landowners work together to identify the most suitable land use for their erosion-prone land, then develop and implement appropriate treatment plans. The main erosion treatment is tree planting, including appropriate species for natural vegetative cover. A one-off NZ$1.8 million funding round was also held in June 2018 for smaller HCEF projects to be completed by 30 June 2019. Funding was awarded to five regional council partners: Northland, Horizons, Wellington, Nelson and Marlborough. In the 2014 HCEF funding round, MPI awarded $8.8 million between 6 regional councils. These regional councils, along with landowners, are contributing a total of NZ$35.7 million towards a total budget of NZ$44.5 million between 2015 and 2019.  This will enable planting of around 6.4 million trees.

European importers deliver price increases 

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 01:00
Through to mid-2018, European producers who were importing dressed sawn softwood products to Australia raised their prices significantly, even as they grew their market share. According to IndustryEdge, that trend is continuing. Source: Timberbiz Speaking to Daily Timber News, the managing director of IndustryEdge Tim Woods said that in June 2018, the average import price for dressed grades of sawn softwood were 9% cheaper than a year earlier. “The price last June was around $600 per cubic metre, and compared to a year before that, it was 9% lower.” Mr Woods said. “But over that year, import volumes had lifted 38%, with most of the increased volume coming from European producers. “Those importers all lifted their import prices into Australia, by as much as 24%. What that means is that the European importers got more volume and a higher price. That is not all that common, so we have closely examined the entire trade to understand it more fully.” IndustryEdge’s analysis shows that the Pacific Rim importers – countries like Chile and New Zealand for example – responded to the European imports by decreasing their prices by around 5% over the same period. The chart displays the details, but it also shows that the effect of the modestly lower prices from Pacific Rim suppliers forced the average import price down, despite the higher European prices. “What we can see in our more recent analysis is that the price differentials between the surging Europeans and the stable Pacific Rim importers is continuing.” Mr Woods said. “Import growth appears to have stalled, and the average price has picked up a little, but the European importers continue to win the larger price increases, coming off their lower starting prices.” All of the data, commentary and analysis is available from IndustryEdge through its monthly subscription services. Every month, IndustryEdge publishes Wood Market Edge, Australia’s only forestry and wood products market and trade analysis, and supplies its customers with hundreds of unique data products, advisory and consulting services. Find out more at www.industryedge.com.au

Hyne celebrates start of new GLT plant

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 00:59
Hyne Timber was joined by the Acting Premier and Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, the Honourable Cameron Dick, local member, Bruce Saunders MP and Mayor, George Seymour to officially turn the first sod ahead of construction of its new Glue Laminated Timber (GLT) production plant. Source: Timberbiz News of the massive capability expansion in Maryborough was announced last October after the company secured a grant through the Queensland Government Jobs and Regional Growth Fund. During the sod turning ceremony, Hyne Timber’s CEO, Jon Kleinschmidt said the new building will be constructed using the company’s own products. “The new building will be constructed using our own GLT, manufactured at our existing plant in Maryborough to further showcase capability and over 40 years of GLT manufacturing experience,” Mr Kleinschmidt said. “Further, Hyne Timber remains committed to using Queensland products and services throughout delivery of this construction project with a priority on Fraser Coast businesses where possible. “Every part of this development will celebrate and showcase Queensland businesses and skills as so many businesses and people have supported us over our 137 years of operations.” The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ross Hampton said: “Not only is this a significant new $20 million timber industry investment, which will underpin 80 construction jobs and up to 42 new jobs in the long term, it is also a vote of confidence by both Hyne Timber and the Queensland Government in advanced manufacturing of innovative renewable timber products.” “GLT is a flexible, zero waste and environmentally friendly alternative for steel and concrete in large-scale commercial and infrastructure construction projects,” he said. “Hyne Timber’s investment will increase the supply of GLT in Australia providing developers with renewable timber product building solutions where traditionally they have not been considered an option. “This new plant will make Hyne Timber one of the largest GLT manufacturers in the Southern Hemisphere.” Hyne Timber continues to partner with Queensland company, Stirling Machinery, who are supplying the new production equipment which is made up of 14 different machines. Queensland project management company, MCD is overseeing the site development working with Badge Construction and local Architect Adam Perrier of Bloc Design. A number of other specialist consultants have been engaged all of whom are based in Queensland. With construction to commence within a few weeks, up to 80 jobs will be created in what has been labelled by local service providers as one of Maryborough’s largest developments in recent history. The recruitment of a range of permanent, specialist roles has already commenced with more operational and specialist jobs created as production scales up. Hyne Timber’s GLT sales manager, John Hesse said the company has been experiencing an increase in both enquiries and demand in GLT as consumers search for sustainable building solutions. “There is little doubt that responsibly sourced timber is experiencing a renaissance for a range of reasons but predominantly for its environmental credentials,” he said. “This new, highly automated plant will increase volumes, improve the speed of delivery while broadening our product capability to capitalise on new growth opportunities,” Mr Hesse said. Feedstock to meet the increase in capacity will be secured from Hyne Timber’s own sawmill, also located near Maryborough.           

National Farmers’ drive to encourage tree planting

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 00:55
The National Farmers Federation has a forestry expert running the government and industry drive to encourage farmers to plant more trees to alleviate Australia’s plantation shortage. Warwick Ragg, the NFF’s general manager of natural resource management, was the chief executive of Australian Forest Growers in the decade up to 2013. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz Mr Ragg, an experienced hand through his work at the AFG at trying to get farmers to plant trees, told DTN he was keen to partner with the forests sector to grow plantations on farms. There were barriers, as the managed investment scheme furore had alienated many in the farming community. “We don’t have a silver bullet,” he said, but was very encouraged by the work at Melbourne University under Rod Keenan, Professor of Ecosystems and Forest Science. The project, ‘Next Generation Forest Plantation Investment’, is being driven by a team from Melbourne University and Swinburne University, backed by industry – Australian Paper, Hancock Victoria Plantations, Midway, AKD Softwoods and OneFortyOne Plantations. A key focus of the project, which started in late 2017, is generating new business models that can put trees in the ground. Institutional investors, superannuation funds and trusts are a likely source of funds. Professor Keenan’s group is due to release an interim report by the end of this month. Mr Ragg said the project should give more insight into the way forward. Issues included ‘How much management responsibility does a farmer want to take?’; ‘What role would integrated forestry have?’; ‘How much out-sourcing would a farmer do to dedicated forestry advice?’; or ‘Would farmers prefer joint ventures?’. “I’m very encouraged that the forestry sector recognises there needs to be a partnership approach. That is the MIS legacy – ‘We’re going to grow trees here and we don’t really care what you think about it’,” he said. Mr Ragg said one of the most compelling factors in integration was that it removed the capital cost involved. “The underlying land cost is a significant investment up front for a plantation investor. If a leasehold or joint venture approach applies to farmers, that is a ‘win-win’ – a lease payment, an annuity on a reasonably regular basis, hopefully annually, that may increase over the life of the crop as it becomes more real to the forestry sector,” he said. “We also recognise that there is a range of opportunities – full production opportunities, integrated opportunities as well. The jigsaw farm model has reportedly increased carrying capacity whilst having up to 18% of forestry in farm landscape. Those models are attractive, but we must be confident the numbers are there to do so.” Mr Ragg praised the concept of forestry hubs in the government’s plan, where plantation efforts would concentrate on existing forestry regions. This would alleviate the production and geographic restrains on the forest sector. “We believe forestry will take a more commercial approach,” he said, integrating forestry as a commercial crop, rather than the more voluntary farmer approach of some tree farming. “That’s more a landscape model, not a production model,” he said. Mr Ragg said the NFF strongly backed better carbon farming initiatives by reviewing and removing the rainfall triggers in plantation and farm forestry methodologies. Under the Emissions Reduction Fund, any land with rainfall more than 600 millimetres is ineligible for carbon farming. Industry relies on regions with 700mm-plus rainfall to produce economic trees and wood of the right quality and species. The review has been promised by both the Government and Opposition, but no concrete review proposals have been announced. Mr Ragg said the NFF would continue to work alongside the forestry industry; the Australian Forest Products Association was a member of the NFF. “They recognise it’s a collaborative journey. It’s no longer a ‘We want your land and will pay you anything for it’ approach,” he said. The Federal Government’s $20 million forestry plan aims to plant one billion trees in the next decade, but the AFPA has criticised the amount as inadequate because it amounts to only two cents per tree. The plan relies heavily on farmers planting trees on their land. Latest figures show that Australia’s timber plantations are continuing to decline. In 2016-17, Australia lost 19,700 hectares of plantations, down 1% to 1,955,100 hectares from 1,974,800 hectares the year before, according to ABARES. The biggest drop came in hardwoods, which fell by 19,800 ha, or 2.1%, to about 908,500ha. The land was converted back to agriculture. Softwood plantations in 2016-17 rose marginally by about 100 ha to total 1,036,900 ha. The losses far outweighed the gains; about 200 new hectares were established in 2016-17, split evenly between hardwoods and softwoods. The establishment rate has decreased dramatically from 86,600ha in 2006-07 to the 200ha in 2016-17.

NZ – $400 a day to plant trees but no one wants the job

International Forest Industries - Fri, 18/01/2019 - 14:02

Pay rates of $400 a day are not enough to attract workers to plant trees, potentially putting a brake on the New Zealand Government’s one billion trees by 2028 campaign. Forest nurseries have doubled plantings to 100 million tree seedings in response to Government incentives, but finding staff is the biggest hurdle to getting them in the ground.

Forest Management director David Janett said the bottleneck was not so much acquiring seedlings from forest nurseries, but finding people to plant the trees. “We are fully booked up for this year.” Planting rates in the North Island were reaching 60 cents a tree, which equated to pay rates of $300 to $400 a day. “And we still can’t get people.”

“The greatest impediment is finding the labour to plant the trees. We can mechanise a lot of the work, but we can’t mechanise a person on a spade,” Janett said. Tree planting was done in autumn and winter and seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands would need to be recruited.

Forest Nursery Growers Association president Kevin Haine said its member nurseries would grow 100 million tree seedlings this year, almost double the 54m trees grown two years ago. Of this, the Government was responsible for about 20m trees through its Crown forestry partnerships, such as its agreement to establish a commercial forest on Ngati Rehia iwi land in Northland.

Tree planting had already increased to 70m trees last year in response to demand for replanting of harvested forests, as the “wall of wood” from a peak planting in 1994 reached maturity. “A positive aspect is that all the logged land is being replanted in trees. This is in contrast to about five years ago when carbon credits were low and it was cheap to get out of forestry and into farming.”

Nursery growers were aware that a change of government might lead to a change in tree-planting policy, which had occurred before, so were wary of gearing up too quickly, Haine said. “The contracts signed have only been for one year. The Government hasn’t signed any long-term contracts, so it’s year-by-year.

Source: Stuff

Photo: Patrick Murray, of Murrays Nurseries at Woodville, has doubled plantings of pinus radiata from 5 million to 10m trees in the last year

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HarvestTECH 2019 details now on line

International Forest Industries - Fri, 18/01/2019 - 13:20
Following on from the early announcement at the end of last year, full details of the two-yearly wood harvesting event, HarvestTECH 2019 have now been set in place and full details can now be found on the event website, www.harvesttech.events

The 2015 harvesting event, HarvestTECH was a SELL OUT. The 2017 event likewise sold out. Both at the time were the largest gathering of harvesting contractors, forestry managers, forest owners, harvest planners and all of the major equipment suppliers to the logging industry seen in New Zealand. Around 450 met up in Rotorua, New Zealand.

In addition to having most logging contractors from throughout the country attending, the events drew in a large contingent of contractors and forest managers from throughout Australia, as well as attracting key equipment suppliers, researchers, forestry companies and international contractors from Europe, the US, Canada, Papua New Guinea and Asia.

2019 is shaping up to be another standout. Already, as well as key local equipment and technology suppliers, most major international equipment providers will be bringing in international expertise for the event.

Leading contractors have already committed to present, as part of the two-day event, on new and innovative technologies along with some pretty clever operating practices that they’ve employed. This includes processes which are making a significant difference to their both their operations productivity and safety.

So, what’s being covered?

  • Recent innovations in steep slope and winch assist harvesting
  • Getting the best out of existing hauler & ground-based operations
  • Harvest planning – new systems really making a difference
  • Effective use of collected data from your harvesting operation
  • Options for eliminating log sorts and reducing landing sizes
  • Tools & Systems for harvesting smaller woodlots
  • Remote sensing technologies for harvest planning and operations
  • Solutions for improving in-forest communications
  • Increased automation and mechanisation – new R&D
  • Remote control, robotics, virtual reality and automation in the bush
  • Filling the skills gap in harvesting

The full programmes can now be viewed on line. You can check out what’s being planned on the event website, harvesttech.events.

As anticipated, at this stage, many of the exhibition stands have been taken. If a supplier to wood harvesting operations in this region and you haven’t as yet booked a space, best get onto it (contact gordon.thomson@fiea.org.nz or Tel: +64 7 921 1384) to avoid missing out.

Further information relating to this major event will follow.

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NZ – The attraction of operating multi-million-dollar machines

International Forest Industries - Fri, 18/01/2019 - 13:07
Scott Thomas is a young man with an exciting future. Aged just 21, he is currently working for Gamble Forest Harvesting in a fully mechanised 8-man hauler crew in Otago. Scott has found his passion, and that is driving big harvesting machines.

I caught up with Scott in Flagstaff Forest, part of the City Forests estate high above Dunedin, during a visit with Kevin Marsh, City Forest’s harvesting and OSH coordinator. Here the crew was operating at full tilt, with a daily harvest of 500-600 tonnes of second-rotation radiata pine. This equates to 18-20 truckloads of logs leaving the skid site every day.

“I really like operating the machinery,” says Scott, who left school at 16, and went straight into the bush – or rather, into the machines that work in the bush. He has only ever worked in mechanised operations, and joined Gamble Forest Harvesting early in 2018 after stints with a couple of other Otago contractors.

Scott is now being trained to operate a relatively new addition to the array of big machines operated by Gamble Forest Harvesting. This is a winch-assisted John Deere 909MH self-levelling feller-buncher, which on steeper terrain is attached to “ROB” – a 850j John Deere Remote Operated Bulldozer. ROB carries two 500-metre steel cables which secure the harvester from up-slope. All ROB operations from starting the bulldozer to operating the winch can be controlled from the cab of the feller-buncher, so making for a multi-million-dollar one-man operation.

“It’s an unreal piece of kit,” says Scott. “I’ve been really lucky because Tony (Gamble) has taken the time to train me. Tony is the expert – he still handles all the tricky stuff. There’s nothing like learning on the job with these machines, and it’s not every contractor that has time to train people.”

Scott reckons he can operate nine of the eleven machines on-site and is adept at processing, skidding and loading. He is climbing the qualifications ladder quickly, and has been working his way through a raft NZQA certificates, recently completing his National Certificate in Forest Harvesting Operations.

“I learn new things every day at work,” says Scott. “I learn about operations, but also about safety and how to look after the environment.” Owning and managing his own crew is on Scott’s list for the future. “First I need to learn how to plan and optimise harvesting operations.”

Scott also reckons he has a few big advantages over his mates, some of whom are tradesmen, others who have been to university. “I may have to get up earlier than them, but I have a great job and I earn more than most of my friends. Also I think forestry’s reputation as a dangerous industry is unfair. We have the best health and safety systems of any industry; there are huge precautions in place.”

Gamble Forest Harvesting is a certified contractor, and has worked for City Forests for many years. Owner Tony Gamble likes his crew members to be versatile, so they are all trained to operate multiple machines. “What I’m looking for are intelligent, motivated people,” says Tony. “We’re seeing more mechanisation and automation all the time, so it’s all about people’s attitude and versatility. Scott works hard and is really keen to learn, so he has all the right attributes and I’m happy to spend time training him.”

Source: Harriet Palmer, Journalist, supported by Forest Growers Commodity Levy

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New wood panels prefab operation for Australia

International Forest Industries - Fri, 18/01/2019 - 12:09

Quintessential Equity has hailed the opening late last year of a new Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) processing and offsite manufacturing factory at Avalon Airport’s new industrial precinct, as a major win for both the City of Geelong and the building industry’s march toward more sustainable methods of construction.

Executive Chairman of Quintessential Equity, Shane Quinn, said the launch of Cross Laminated Offsite Solutions’ (CLOS) factory will create local jobs, support sustainable development and bring significant potential to grow an advanced manufacturing industry in Geelong.

“Green design is no longer an option, it’s an expectation. We believe every new building in Australia from today onwards has to be designed with sustainability top of mind. The CLOS factory in Geelong will be a game-changer for the construction industry in Victoria and beyond. Local, accessible mass engineered timber will help put Australia in contention to meet and exceed global standards like WELL Ratings and the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“We’re excited about CLOS because Quintessential Equity wants to use CLT technology – we’d love to construct our first CLT building in Geelong. Building with CLT is sustainable and efficient. Eight times the amount of carbon is emitted to produce a tonne of concrete compared to a tonne of timber, and building costs can be reduced by up to 20 per cent during construction,” said Mr Quinn.

Quintessential Equity has a strong track record of green design and supporting local economies. “One of our earlier projects in Parramatta set the benchmark for exemplar sustainability winning the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) Best Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Project.

We’ve also halved the carbon footprint of the NAB’s headquarters building in Adelaide and recently achieved global best practice at 1 Malop Street right here in Geelong, which also created hundreds of local jobs,” he said.

The CLOS factory, set to open mid-2019, will “pre-fabricate” engineered timber products into walls, floors, roofs and other building components, adding the necessary cladding, insulation and plasterboards. The materials will then be sent to building sites where they are assembled and used in construction, using a similar principle as IKEA flat pack furniture.

While CLOS will initially import the cross laminated timber (CLT) used, the company aims to become Australia’s second CLT producer within five years, which would create around 100 direct local jobs as well as secondary employment in areas such as transportation. Along with CLT processing and offsite manufacturing, CLOS will process laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and glued laminated timber (glulam).

CLOS Founder and Managing Director, John Fitzgibbon, was previously part of the building team for the new WorkSafe building in Geelong, where he saw an opportunity for Geelong to lead the way in mass engineered timber manufacturing.

“Mass engineered timber like CLT has so much potential. When you look at places like Europe and parts of the US, it’s clear Australia isn’t doing enough of it,” said Mr Fitzgibbon. The current prefabricated housing market in Australia is a AU$4.5 billion sector, or 3 per cent of the AU$150 billion construction industry, whereas Germany and Sweden’s prefabricated modular housing accounts for about 20 per cent and 70 per cent of their respective industries.

“There’s real opportunity for a major advanced manufacturing industry in Geelong – we have the space, the local workforce and the lifestyle that makes workers want to stay and live in the area. With the demise of hard manufacturing and the resurgence of white-collar jobs, I see advanced manufacturing as the next stage of Geelong’s economic growth.”

Photo: Executive Chairman of Quintessential Equity, Shane Quinn

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NZ – Napier Port sets new records

International Forest Industries - Thu, 17/01/2019 - 12:38

Napier Port reported another record profit this year as the amount of cargo handled also hit a record. Net profit lifted 5.4 percent to $17.6 million in the year ended 30 September on a 5 .8 percent increase in revenue to $91.7 million, its annual report shows.

The port handled a record 5.1 million tonnes of cargo, with log exports lifting 35 percent to a record 2.2 million tonnes. A total of 266,006 containers or twenty- foot equivalent units passed through the port’s container terminal, and the port’s onsite packing operation handled a record 51,126 TEU containers.

Apple exports exceeded 23,000 TEU containers for the first time, while fertiliser, cement and oil imports remained relatively steady.

“We saw an extraordinary amount of cargo come through Napier Port the previous financial year as a result of earthquake damage to Wellington’s port. To not only match that figure this year, but to beat it by more than 320,000 tonnes, really shows the pace of growth in Hawke’s Bay,” chief executive Todd Dawson said.

He said the port is also handling larger ships and a growing cruise industry.

A total of 684 ships called at Napier this year, including 57 cruise ships, he said. Cruise tourism in the region is flourishing, with a record 103,000 passengers visiting Napier shores in the 2017-2018 cruise season. Figures from Statistics New Zealand figures show those cruise passengers spent $23 million on credit cards alone.

The port paid $10 million in dividends to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company.

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